Who better to address unmet clinical needs and life-changing improvements to medical devices of all types than clinicians themselves?
Piedmont Healthcare and T3 Labs’ a subsidiary of GCMI, embark on a journey to create a self-sustaining innovation enterprise: concept to commercialization.
All I.J. was trying to do was celebrate a friend’s wedding at the beach. Just 10 feet from the sidewalk, I.J. and her wheelchair got stuck in the sand. For three hours. No one could hear her calls for help. So there she sat, stranded.
“I.J. told us first, foremost and repeatedly, ‘I don’t want to always be asking for help no matter where I need or want to go,’” says Patrick Strane, Program Manager at The Global Center for Medical Innovation (GCMI). “While highly specialized wheelchairs for athletic use including the beach have existed for years, I.J. identified the need for an accessory item that enables users of the most common type of wheelchairs (80 percent of the market) to extricate themselves from situations like the one in which I.J. found herself. This is particularly important for users who unexpectedly, yet temporarily, find themselves in a wheelchair and are novice users.”
“Piedmont Healthcare wanted to provide a pathway for our staff to develop their medical device ideas,” says John Henson, Piedmont Healthcare Chief of Oncology Services. “Initially we knew we would need a partner to help us successfully navigate the process, concept to commercialization. We found that partner in GCMI.”
According to Dr. Jayne Morgan, Director of Cardiovascular Research for Piedmont Heart Institute, the entire Piedmont staff is encouraged to pitch their ideas. One winner is funded each year via Piedmont; GCMI provides the project management and infrastructure.
A mobility solution inspired by I.J.’s unmet need was the first project selected for the Piedmont / GCMI development process.
“Through the Piedmont Innovation Center, our clinicians can conceptualize new devices and solutions that have the potential to transform medicine here in Atlanta and all over the world once they’ve come to fruition,” said Dr. Charles Brown, III, chief medical officer of the physician enterprise, Piedmont Healthcare. “With the resources and support services available [through GCMI], clinicians will have all the tools they need to bring their idea from concept to market.”
“If we are able to fund something to commercialization and bring that revenue back to the hospital system and fund other projects, that will improve not only employee engagement but also provide a source of revenue for the hospital,” says Dr. Morgan. “This will give the Piedmont Innovation Center a solid chance to be self sustaining: creating revenue, not just consuming it.”
Converting clinical ideas into clinical and commercial reality
Clinicians with novel ideas for new, or significantly improved devices rarely understand the complexity of taking an invention or an initial prototype and turning that into a regulated product. There is usually a lot of education and discussion around that process.
“Front line clinicians are uniquely qualified to identify unmet needs be it an IV start kit, a wheelchair, or CardioMEMS HF system to improve the quality of life and outcomes,” says Tiffany Wilson, CEO of GCMI and T3 Labs. “But the IP discovery and protection, addressable market assessment, efficiency in design (including controls and quality systems, ‘manufacturability’ and design history file requirements), prototyping and eventually testing on the path to FDA approval are insurmountable without the right team. Meeting unmet needs in the medical device innovation process, concept to commercialization, is where GCMI delivers value for our partners including, and especially, our hometown heroes at Piedmont Healthcare.”
T3 Labs joined forces with GCMI in August 2016. Our combined resources including market analysis, IP, design and development, prototyping, preclinical testing and training, regulatory support, accelerator and Pathfinder programs provide innovators with a one-stop shop for their medtech development needs.
If you are a medtech innovator or hospital innovation director in need of a partner that understands your science and your product development needs including preclinical testing, T3 Labs and GCMI can help: concept to commercialization.